I’m quite sanguine about it. I haven’t released something new since July and I have been virtually inactive on the promo front while trying to finish the final pass on A Storm Hits Valparaíso.
I know some people don’t like hearing talk about numbers and even less about dollars. For those of that persuasion, you can read my recent post on Indie Reader about the bout of pessimism that had permeated self-publishing circles on foot of Amazon’s recent changes to its layout and algorithms.
If you have already seen that, you can check out my new blog: South Americana. I’ll be talking more about it later in the week, but essentially its an effort to broaden my base in advance of my next release and reach out to readers with an interest in South American history or culture. The first post is on the Guayaquil Conference. Pop over and say hello.
Ok. The numbers. Ugh.
So, yeah, a big drop. But if you look back at June, this isn’t the first time I’ve experienced this. And the two months have something else in common: no new release, and no promo while I prepared a new book.
In short, I’m not worried. I was also on vacation for the first two weeks in September and essentially disappeared from the internet. Less than 40 of those sales were in the first two weeks. Things picked up considerably towards the end.
While I wish readers wouldn’t take a holiday from buying my books while I am on vacation from selling them, it’s still worth it just to get that sand between your toes.
I also had a string of good luck in August: five star review from Big Al and features in Pixel of Ink and the Week in Rewind when I hadn’t submitted to any of them. That was bound to run out.
I’m not going to do a breakdown or a big analysis, other than to quickly note that revenue was $265 (down from $870 in August) and to point out an interesting trend with regards to sales channels.
Smashwords sales completely disappeared this month (indicating that I am still handselling every copy there). I have no idea about the partners (Apple, Barnes & Noble etc.) as we haven’t received numbers yet. I know I’m selling something on Barnes & Noble, but I wouldn’t say it’s much.
Last month was all Amazon. While US sales were extremely erratic, bouncing between zero and ten each day (but mostly on the lower side), UK sales were steady.
In fact, the proportion is growing. UK sales used to be negligible. In August they were a quarter of my total. Last month they were a third of my total. At least partly responsible must be the near continual presence of Let’s Get Digital in the Top 10 of its “genre” because I’m not doing any promo there. But hey, I’ll take it, especially in a month with such slim pickings.
Let’s accentuate the positives. Here’s a milestone: I’ve now sold over 1,000 e-books in less than five months. Not bad for an unknown, unpublished writer.
Let’s Get Digital was the #1 book on writing/publishing in both the UK and the US for significant periods, and knocked on the door of the Top 1000 on several occasions in both countries. It’s also picked up 53 five-star reviews on Amazon US & UK (out of 58 reviews total) and led to innumerable messages from readers, which is very gratifying.
I’m not saying any of this to brag (well maybe to rally myself a little). I think we all get caught up in the day-to-day numbers and our happiness can rise and fall with our Amazon rankings. As such, we tend to forget what we have achieved and should remind ourselves from time-to-time.
In the interests of balance, I should point out that sales of my short stories have been on life support for a couple of months. The main reason for that is that I haven’t had a fiction release since May.
And, of course, I haven’t been promoting them at all. But I have been doing something much more important: working on new stuff.
My upcoming novel – A Storm Hits Valparaíso – has experienced one delay after another. I’m still working on the final pass which should have been done in August. In fact, I started the book in 2006.
I’m not too stressed about the delay. It’s getting there, and is going to be far stronger book because of the methodical way I’ve approached the rewrite.
I know now that I was far too inexperienced to attempt such a complex narrative, and really threw myself in the deep-end with some concrete shoes, but I’m getting there and it will be worth it in the end.
The next novel after that will be a different kettle of fish. Already outlined, it will be much shorter, less research, less interweaving narratives. Once I get this monkey off my back, I’m going to fly through that in a few months and quicken up my whole process.
It’s clear to me at this early stage that my sales will decay rapidly without the impetus provided by new releases. So once this novel is out, you can look forward to more short stories, a collection, some translations, and direct sales from my website, to be quickly followed by another novel.
Hell, I might even do some promotion. 🙂